Improving Access to Water, Sanitation and Healthcare in Gorkha, Nepal ( WASH Project)
Status: On Going
Gorkha, with a population of more than 271,000, is one of the worst earthquake affected districts. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Barpak, 15 km from Gorkha town. There are no roads or even where there are motorable roads, they are difficult to use during the monsoon season. The level of destruction within the district and even within the Rural municipalities varies widely, as so does the availability of food, water and other basic supplies.
Gorkha’s population is geographically wide-spread, with small settlements and villages scattered in between deep valleys and mountains. Accessibility to mountainous areas was already very limited before the earthquake, due to the topography and poor road conditions (LCT 28/04/2015). The majority of houses are mud-bonded and constructed of bricks or stone (Nepal Census 2011). Wood is the main source of energy for cooking (Nepal Census 2011). According to the 2011 census, 72.9 % of the population in Gorkha lived in households with toilets, and 65.4% had access to improved drinking water sources. But this has drastically changed after the earthquake.
Impact on health infrastructure and access to safe drinking water
According to the PDNA (Post Disaster Needs Assessment), Gorkha has one of the highest proportions of health facilities completely damaged. As a result, communities spend more time and resources accessing basic healthcare. The earthquakes disrupted health infrastructure, water supplies and sanitation systems – limiting the provision of services and dramatically increasing the risk of disease and other health-related problems.
OVN WASH intervention is at Taklung village of Sahid Lakhan Gaupalika and Tanglichowk village of Gandaki Gaupalika at Gorkha district.
OVN is particularly concerned about the challenges faced by women and girls, who were disproportionately affected by the earthquake. Landless women and girls are the most vulnerable in this situation and OVN ensures that they are included in the reconstruction efforts. One of OVN’s top priorities is to continue to help them learn new skills so they can earn an income and provide for their families.
OVN has worked hand in hand with local communities, government agencies and civil society partners in supporting the relief and recovery work in Gorkha. At the same time, OVN ensures that local communities have a voice in their recovery. In other words, vulnerable communities define their own needs and actively contribute to their own recovery. OVN then provides technical and material support, for example in helping rebuild health facilities and water systems. Along with construction of health facilities, OVN works on ensuring that the most vulnerable communities have access to safe drinking water by restoring damaged water systems and by helping the community construct new ones.
Building up on the five years strategic plan developed after a two and half months needs assessment including Gorkha, OVN aim to support pregnant and lactating mothers by providing quality health services and equipping health posts with standard health materials such as delivery beds and new born resuscitation sets to health facilities. Similarly, this project aims to support the local community of both Villages in Gorkha with providing improved access to safe drinking water by constructing water reservoirs, earth excavation and pipeline work and through water lifting methods from the water sources.
As compared to Tanglichok Village, water supply and preservation costs in Taklung Village is coming to higher costs as the water source is far in this particular village and the plan is to construct two smaller reservoirs and other infrastructures before reserving the water in larger tank. Also due to the stiff hill and transportation distance in this Village, the costs have gone higher including for site clearance and excavation work, purchasing additional materials and accessories that include two more water pumps, plumbing as well as fitting and increased labor costs.
In rural areas of Gorkha district where OVN is already working, the aim is to select certain Village and carry out free mobile camps and health clinics providing basic health check-ups, treatment and distribution of medicines. The target group of this activity will be mostly women and children as well as young mothers and adolescents including the aged people.
In order to support women affected by gender based violence, young women and children who are victims and vulnerable to trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, OVN plan to carry out massive community awareness campaigns and other preventative activities among others and set up female friendly safe spaces providing counseling, rehabilitation, protection, reintegration and other support services in Gorkha in the future aligning with the strategic planning.